Potty training your son will require time and a lot of patience. The key to a successful potty training is starting when your son is interested, willing, and physically able to. While some kids are ready as young as 18 months, others may not be prepared to learn until after their third birthday. Some experts believe that boys are in diapers a bit longer than girls because they’re generally more active and may less likely to stop and take the time to use the potty.
I see mums who says they start potty training a 6 months. Your baby is not ready for potty training at 6 months or even 12 months. The truth is, when parents begin potty training too soon, the process is likely to take longer. In other words, you’ll arrive at your destination at the same time, no matter when you start. So before you begin, be sure that your son is ready to start. There’s no magic age for being ready to start learning to use the potty. Most toddlers develop the necessary physical and mental skills between 18 and 24 months, while some are not there until closer to age 3.
Once you’ve determined that your son is ready to start, focus on timing. Be sure your child’s routine is well established. If he’s just started preschool or has a new sibling, he may be less receptive to change or feel too overwhelmed to tackle this new challenge. Wait until he seems open to new ideas, so you can potty train successfully.
1. Let him watch and learn
Toddlers learn by imitation. He may notice that Daddy uses the potty differently than Mummy does, which creates a great opportunity for you to explain the basic mechanics of how boys use the bathroom.
2. Buy the right equipment
When your child is sitting on the potty, it’s important for him to be able to lean slightly forward with his feet on the ground, especially when he’s having a bowel movement. Most experts advise buying a child-size potty, which your toddler can claim for his own and which will also feel more secure to him than sitting on a full-size toilet. (Many toddlers are afraid of falling into the toilet, and their anxiety can interfere with potty training.)
If you prefer to buy an adapter seat for your regular toilet, make sure it’s comfortable and attaches securely. You’ll also need to give your son a stool because he needs to be able to get on and off the potty easily any time he needs to go and to stabilize himself with his feet.
3. Help your child get comfortable with the potty
Let your child get used to the idea of using the potty. Start by letting him know that the potty is his own. You can personalize it by writing his name on it or letting him decorate it with stickers. Then have him try sitting on it with his clothes on.
After he’s practiced this way for a week or so, suggest that he try it with his pants down. If he seems resistant, avoid the temptation to pressure him. That will only set up a power struggle that could affect the entire process.
If your child has a favorite doll or stuffed animal, use it for potty demonstrations. Most children enjoy watching their favorite toy go through the motions, and your child may learn more this way than from you telling him what to do.
You can even get a small cup/bowl to make the doll’s potty. While your child is perched on his potty, his favorite toy can be sitting on one of its own.
4. Motivate with cool underwear
Get your son focused on the benefits of being potty trained by taking him on a special errand- buying underwear. Let him know that he gets to choose whatever kind he wants.
Bring up the conversation ahead of time so he gets excited about being old enough to use the potty and wear “real” underwear just like his dad’s or older brother’s. If he seems a little hesitant to put them on, see if he’ll wear them over his diaper. Once he gets used to them, he may insist on ditching the diapers.
5. Set up a training schedule
Getting your toddler out of diapers depends on your daily schedule and whether your son is in daycare or preschool. If he is, you’ll want to coordinate your strategy with his daycare provider or teacher.
You’ll have to decide whether to use the back-and-forth method of switching between diapers and pants or the cold-turkey method of going for pants full time. Disposable training pants are convenient, but many parents say it’s best to transition right from diapers into pants. That, of course, means you’ll be cleaning up some accidents.
You’ll have to decide what’s best for you and your son. His doctor may recommend one method or the other. For a while, continue using diapers or disposable pants at night and on long trips. And your daycare provider or preschool teacher will have her own opinion on when to switch to pants at school.
6. Teach him to sit first, then stand
Standing to pee is a much more complex skill that can wait until much later. Show your little man how to pee sitting down, before he masters standing up to pee. Since bowel movements and urine often come at the same time, it makes sense to have your son sit for both poop and pee at first so he learns that both belong in the potty. Also, that way he won’t get distracted by the fun of spraying and learning to aim when you need him to concentrate on mastering the basic procedure.
Avoid letting him sit too long. Watching TV or using other screens while sitting on the potty is often a major stumbling block for parents and children.
Once your son is comfortable going to the bathroom sitting down, he can try the standing position. (There’s no reason to rush this – he can continue to pee sitting down for as long as he likes.) This is where having a male role model is key.
Make sure your son can follow Dad, or an older brother into the bathroom to watch him pee standing up. When your son seems to get the idea, let him give it a try.
If he seems reluctant, try floating a few pieces of O-shaped cereal in the potty for target practice. Expect to clean up a few messes as your son perfects his aim.
7. Set aside some naked time
Nothing helps your toddler figure out when he needs to go like letting him spend some time naked. Put the potty in an accessible area while he plays, and encourage him to sit on it at regular intervals.
(Of course if your son is going to play naked, you’ll have to be prepared for the floor to get wet. Have your child play in an area that can take a little wetness.)
Watch for signs that he has to go and use these cues to suggest to him that it’s potty time. You can do this on several consecutive days, in the evenings when the family is all together, or just on weekends. The more time your child spends out of diapers, the faster he’ll learn.
8. Celebrate victory
Your son will miss it a few times, but eventually he will enjoy the accomplishment of getting something in the potty. Celebrate this moment.
9. If at first he doesn’t succeed, try again
As with any other skill, the more he uses the potty, the better he’ll be at it. But there are some things you can do to make it easier for him.
Dress your child in loose-fitting clothes that he can easily take off himself, or buy underpants a size too big.
If he still has trouble with potty training, don’t overreact or punish. Nothing can disrupt potty training faster than making a child feel bad for having an accident.
If you feel frustrated, remind yourself that scolding your child for wetting his pants might mean months of diapers ahead. Remember, potty training is not so different from learning how to drive a car, and accidents are an inevitable part of the process. Even children who have used the toilet successfully for months occasionally have an accident when they are engrossed in an activity.
And if you don’t sense much progress or if you or your child are becoming frustrated, it’s perfectly fine to take a break from potty training and try again in a few weeks.
10. Raise the fun factor
If you approach potty training with a little fun, your child will be more likely to stay motivated. If your child starts to lose interest but is well into potty training, you may want to consider offering rewards.
One popular method is to use stickers and a calendar to keep track of his successes. Every time he goes to the potty, he gets a sticker that he can paste on the calendar. Watching the sticker accumulate will keep him inspired.
11. Move into night mode
Once your son stays dry all day, you can start formulating a game plan for nights. Wait until he’s reliably using the potty during the daytime, then start checking his diapers in the mornings and after naps to see if they’re dry. Many children start staying dry during their afternoon naps within six months of learning to use the potty.
Night time training takes longer because it depends mostly on whether his body can hold the urine for an extended period of time. It can take months or years before your child’s body is mature enough to stay dry at night, and this is perfectly normal.
If he wants to try sleeping without diapers, go ahead and let him. Should a few nights of this experiment show he’s not ready, put him back in diapers in a nonjudgmental way. Tell him that his body is not quite ready for this next step, and reassure him that he’ll soon be big enough to try again.
If your child stays dry three out of five nights, it’s probably okay to make your “pants all the time” policy official. Support his attempts to stay dry by limiting how much he drinks after 5 p.m. and getting him up for a final bathroom trip before you go to bed. If your child takes longer to stay dry at night, don’t worry – night time accidents are considered normal until your toddler grows well into the primary school years.
12. Ditch the diapers
By the time your son is ready to say goodbye to diapers altogether, he’s accomplished a lot.
Acknowledge this and reinforce your child’s pride in his achievement by letting him give away leftover diapers to a family with younger kids. Or you may want to join him in a joyful jig around the house and call it the “no more diapers” dance.